In order for us to reshape the world, our children today need the convergence of the 3 E’s – education, environment and entrepreneurship. Here’s why:
We adults are supposed to be custodians of the earth for our children’s future. Instead, we are making a mess out of it. The recent water shortage due to manufacturers polluting the river impacted 5 million households across the country. Haze in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore that happens almost annually causes not only health hazards but economic losses as well. In September this year, it was reported that the Arctic Sea Ice minimum has hit second lowest on record and has devastating effects on earth including intense heat waves, rising sea level, damage to crops, animal extinction, greenhouse gas, and climate change, all of which we are experiencing right now, in real time.
Therefore, it is imperative that our children be infused with the DNA of environmental sustainability and the DNA of entrepreneurship from a young age. And this has to be embedded into any subjects that they are studying. According to Anne Tham, Founder of ACE Biosphere Academy, this is the reality we live in right now. Therefore, it’s vital for our children’s mindset to be moulded from young to become someone who understands environmental sustainability that is to permeate in every aspect of our lives.
Parents who are in their 30s and 40s today are generally more environmentally conscious as their generation grew up with the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – in school. The fact is that more and more companies are selling more environmentally sustainable products. These products are preferred and the demand is growing even though they cost more. This wasn’t a trend before but it is now.
There are also more parents buying organic cotton or earth-friendly baby products for their children. Even for cars, there is an increased demand for hybrid vehicles for consumers with higher income. As of April 2019, Greenbiz reported that Shenzhen, China, owns 99% of 400,000 electric buses available worldwide in over 31 of its cities as public transportation and is on the forefront in this industry. In Scandinavia, known as some of the world’s most sustainable countries, environmental policies seeped into the infrastructure, governmental policies and even green politics. Inevitably, being environmentally conscious and sustainable have become a lifestyle choice.
Despite that, many Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines are still educating the basics of 3 R’s, a practice which is outdated when compared to actual environmental practices that have evolved along with the rampant and rapid development of our environmental technology.
In order for the environment to be a critical component in our lifestyle, environmental ideas, products and services have to be both practical and sustainable. This is where the third ‘E’ comes in – entrepreneurship. It encompasses both mindset and skills.
Entrepreneurship is about the people, the community and the cause. It is about seeing a hidden path or creating one where none existed before when others see nothing. They even create their own super highway. This is the mark of entrepreneurship.
In short, as educators, it is essential that our children embody the DNA of entrepreneurship and the DNA of environmental sustainability as part of our education. Only then can we reshape the world.
Anne ThamFounder of ACE EdVenture